Making sense out of the sensible

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013 by Travis Cody in

You might be wondering about the title of this post.  I didn't make a typo.  I meant to write it that way...making sense out of the sensible.

I find it sensible that people want to live unashamedly and love whomever they wish.  I find it sensible that most people don't really understand the way other consenting adults live, or whom they love.

So, to make sense out of the sensible...not an easy business.

Jason Collins, 34 year old 12 year NBA veteran, came out as gay this week.  He's the first male athlete, still active in a team sport, to openly proclaim his homosexuality.  I respect that.

Mike Wallace, 26 year old 4 year NFL veteran, said that given all the beautiful women in the world, he didn't understand why a guy would want to "mess with" another guy.  I respect that, too.

Mr Collins did something important to him.  He said that he was who he was, and he was just going to be who he was.  I think that's OK to do and say.

Mr Wallace did not reject or accept or bash what Mr Collins said.  He merely stated that he did not understand it.  I think that's OK to say.

I support Mr Collins.  I support Brittney Griner, who also recently came out as gay.  I support anyone who decides to be who he or she is.  I support anyone who is not yet ready to be open and public about his or her sexuality.

And I have to support someone who says they don't understand being gay.  You know what?  I don't really understand being gay.  I'm not gay, so how can I understand?  I have a number of gay friends, but that still doesn't mean I understand.  I just accept.  They are my friends and they are who they are.  They accept me as I am, so how can I not return that acceptance?

You're right if you said I can't.  So I accept even though I may not understand.  I can be understanding, but not having the same experiences means I can't fully understand.

So Mike Wallace doesn't understand Jason Collins, and he said so.  That has to be OK.  Just as it has to be OK that Jason Collins is gay.

Not understanding, and saying so, doesn't make Mike Wallace homophobic.  It doesn't necessarily mean he's a bigot against gays.  It doesn't mean he should be called out, made to take back what he said, or asked to apologize.  He shouldn't have to go to sensitivity training just because he doesn't understand.  No one should have to distance themselves from what he said.

Hell, he doesn't have to understand.

All Mike Wallace - or me or anyone else - has to do is live and let live.  It's OK not to understand.

Guess what?  Jason Collins maybe doesn't understand why, with so many handsome men in the world, anyone would want to "mess with" women.  

Make sense?


  1. Well put. Who really cares if someone 'understands' per se. Tolerance does not require understanding, just an agreement that people have their right to live as they chose.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    You make perfect sense. :)

  1. Jean(ie) says:

    I'm one of those folks who wonders why it's news. I'm not anti-gay whatsoever. Just curious why it's considered news.

    being gay is an aspect of a person's being. Doesn't mean they are any more or less a person or any greater or less talented at their job.

    I guess I just don't understand the Hoopla.

  1. TopChamp says:

    makes sense! I'm with you.

    It's news because it's never been done before - same as it was news here when Gareth Jenkins came out.

    It is news because they are public figures who publically announce this.

    It's a worthwhile public statement if it can help other people, and I hope it will allow him to live openly and happily. Will it?

    It is positive to open conversation and debate, to challenge homophobia. And the more open we are about it, the less unusual it becomes and the easier it is to accept.

    That's what I think - and that's why I considered it interesting, newsworthy and positive.

  1. The "I don't understand" was me until I happened to be in a cafe in Fresno's Tower district which is the center for the gay community and live theater lovers. This woman was sitting alone at a table until she got this look of absolute adoration on her face that made me turn to look at what she was seeing. Another woman was carrying espressos to the table. Instant understanding - Been there done that. It isn't the object that counts, it's the feeling.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Very well put! GGG

  1. Jeni says:

    Your entire premise here makes perfectly good sense to me, Trav! Excellent post. Perhaps, if we all admitted we don't understand a whole lot of other things too -pertaining to people and relationships and such -but just accepted each other as we are, life could become a tad easier that way for all concerned.